What shadow do you cast?

A woman in the foreground with her shadow extra large on the wall behind her

What shade is your shadow?

All of us cast shadows with our actions and behaviours. Are you throwing out dark shadows that others duck and dive to avoid, or perhaps lighter shadows that galvanise others to follow in your footsteps?

For leaders, these shadows are often absorbed and reflected in the actions and behaviours of the teams they lead. Where positive, teams flourish and grow in confidence, motivated to mimic the behaviours of their leader. Where less positive, performance generally suffers as trust can be low and communication strained. We need to look harder to find team members who display an obvious desire to do a good job.

So how do effective leaders consistently cast performance shadows that teams strive to emulate? Here are the top four:

  • Say and do the same thing – don’t dictate, demonstrate. Share your expectations, but follow through. Preach at all times, use words if necessary!
  • Continually ask, ‘what message am I sending?’ – in meetings, digital dialogue, old-school conversations at the coffee machine, even your actions. Assume you’re being watched at all times…because you are!
  • Use the window and the mirror – when desired results aren’t met, look in the mirror to apportion responsibility. When targets are smashed, look out of the window to apportion credit.
  • Admit mistakes – failure is normal, simply an attempt. Learning from these attempts is the juice, sharing the learnings is gold! Hiding our mistakes sniffs of an inauthentic leader who fears vulnerability.

Regardless of whether we are in a leadership role, being aware of the shadow we cast is SO powerful in terms of developing our own self-awareness, alongside increasing our understanding of the impact that our actions and behaviours have on the performance of others. What shadow do you cast?

We love this topic! If you’d like to discuss it in more depth, please do get in touch.

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